By a vote of 6 to 1, Canmore Town Council voted in favour of supporting Calgary’s 2026 Olympic bid on Tuesday night.
The mountain town’s participation in the bid gives Calgary’s proposal a momentum boost, and while Mayor John Borrowman said it’s a divisive issue, he’s confident it’s the right call.
“In the life of a council, there’s a lot of big issues that are polarizing and most of this council have been here since the previous election and we’ve made it through some very divisive issues,” he said. “People are still talking to me — well, most people — and by and large, council is respected for the decisions we are making.”
Joanna McCallum was the sole councillor to vote against the motion. Her concerns stemmed from how the bid would address economic diversification, improve livability and increase affordability in Canmore.
“These are not our grandma’s Olympics,” she said, adding that the town is growing. “These are the new Olympics.”
McCallum drew comparisons to Whistler’s increasing housing prices after the 2010 Vancouver Games, wondering how Canmore would be any different.
Olympic BidCo chair Scott Hutcheson said Canmore’s vote was a necessary step to move the process forward.
“There’s some spirit that I saw today that really Calgary should look at,” he said. “I heard words about not worrying about fear and looking to hope — that is really nice and refreshing and exciting to hear from the councillors.”
If the bid is successful, millions of dollars would be needed to upgrade Canmore’s facilities, like the Nordic Centre, and build spaces for visitors. An athlete’s village with 1,250 beds has also been proposed — a development which could be repurposed as affordable housing.
– With files from Jill Croteau